Technology with attitude

Mixed Taste – Showtunes and Aquatic Plants

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I attended my first “Mixed Taste” lecture at the Museum of Contemporary Art Friday night (June 5). The museum itself is, as you might expect, quite modern, with odd angles, lots of bare white walls, and panels of black-painted wood behind layers of glass. Contrast this with the free pickles at the entrance, free drink, and outdoor tables covered in plastic ants (there’s a Mixed Grill offering post-lecture) and I realized I was in for one of those charming nights of kooky-funny and not wacky-weird.

You can never be sure what you’re going to encounter in a museum showing Damien Hirst’s segmented… objects.

The amusements continued as a black-clad security guard escorted us across the barely-trafficked Delgany street (at least at that hour) like a pack of 3rd-graders to the large garage/performance space on the other side where the lectures take place.

There we were entertained and informed by Kirk Johson, chief curator of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and an expert on aquatic plants– and not just any aquatic plants, but fossilized aquatic plants. Did you know the Arctic Ocean was once covered in thumbnail-sized ferns? Now you do. Mayor John Hickenlooper took the stage next to discuss his love of showtunes and to give a brief history of the stage musical and its relationship to sociological trends in America. The mayor’s tales of going to Broadway shows with his mother as a child had the audience in stitches. It was particularly funny watching Hickenlooper groove out to the samples of songs from “South Pacific” and “Hair.”

The accompanying Q&A session after the lectures brought up a number of good points such as “Do plants like showtunes?” and “Was Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors an aquatic plant?”

Make plans for next week’s Mixed Taste when American alligators and Platonic love will be discussed. A real alligator will be on hand. I don’t know what the Platonic love speaker will bring. Maybe a chastity belt?